No Slowing Down for Cris …Just Yet
By Yoly Tumangan Tubalinal
Just like many other strong women I know, Crispina Unabia Arnan wears many hats. But no one that I know of, wears them as well as she does. A nurse, business entrepreneur, leader, church volunteer, wife, mother, grandmother and more, she seems to have mastered the art of juggling responsibilities without losing herself in the process. Her chic look, classy style and confident demeanor belie the pressures associated with a busy health care business and an active lifestyle of a woman constantly on the go.
But Cris, as she is fondly addressed by friends, colleagues and family, doesn’t seem to mind the demands of her career, social obligations and a vast network of professionals and business associates with whom she interacts almost on a daily basis. She is used to the fast-paced environment and has grown adept to the art of human relations.
She was a bit hesitant when first I told her of her nomination to the Prism Award. Having earned various awards from countless organizations and business entities over the past few years, she expressed concern over what her friends and other people might think. She asked, perhaps only as a matter of courtesy, what Prism Award is all about. What she learned though, gave her second thoughts and later, a change of heart. And was I really glad she did, for the Prism award simply fits this lady to a T. Her understated elegance and fashion flair with a trimmed waistline and height to match must have spared her the time regular Filipino women normally spend just finding the right dress to fit into.
On the achievements department, Chris certainly gets even more points. Her numerous awards and recognition point to her versatility and success. As president of the Philippine Nurses Association of Illinois (PNAI) in 2005-200, she was host Crispina Unabia Arnan, R.N. By Yoly Tumangan Tubalinal PRISM Recipient of National Prism Award for Women of Style and Achievements No Slowing Down for Cris …Just Yet president of the 7th PNAA ,Inc North Central Regional Conference in 2006 and in 2007she hosted yet another big and important event, the 50th Anniversary of PNAI. Her awards in the field of nursing, business, etc. were plenty, for instance, the Hall of Fame Award in Nursing given by the Chicago Philippine Reports TV, the National Excellence Award in Entrepreneurship by the Philippine Nurses Association of America. She was also picked to receive and award as one Twenty Outstanding Filipino Americans in USA and CANADA, given in Washington D.C. in 2004. To cap her string of awards and titles, she was given the Most Outstanding Mother of the Year by the Philippine American Cultural Foundation. The Prism Award will be her plum award, a testament to what she has achieved as a woman making a difference in this world.
As owner of the flourishing and reputable Model Home Health Agency, Chris continues to make a difference in the health care industry. Her home health agency was featured in the Chicago Tribune in its issue of November 2003 when it ranked number one in a survey conducted among 7000 home health care agencies in Illinois and Indiana. Her years of experience, first, at the Cook County Hospital where she started as a pediatric nurse, gave her expertise in Pediatric Medicine and Acute Care. In 1981 Cris was promoted to Nurse Manager at Cook County Hospital’s Fantus Health Care Center. In 1993 Cris worked as Nursing Supervisor and Quality Assurance, now referred to as Performance Improvement Nurse (PI) at the Active Home Health Agency in Maywood, Illinois. With her wealth of health care experience and skills, Cris opened her own home health agency. Together with her husband, the late Dr. Melitito Unabia, Cris founded Model Home Health Agency in 1995 which has grown tremendously in its more than 10 years of operation. Furthermore, in the midst of mushrooming home health care businesses, mostly established, owned and operated by Filipino nurses, Model Home Health Agency has remained true to its name, a genuine model of honest nursing practice and commitment to its mission of professionally caring for the sick and the elderly.
Cris came to the United States in 1968 armed with her Liberal Arts degree at Southwestern University and a Diploma Program in Nursing at Southern Islands Hospital School of Nursing, both in Cebu City, Philippines and a Certificate Program in Public Health. Her characteristic initiative to explore her environment and learn new things gained her access to information and opportunities that would later help her take a leap to the next level. Thus, while at Cook County Hospital, she became Nurse Manager and held the position for a while before deciding to retire in 1993, a decision that later proved wiser as it eventually led to her founding her own business, the Model Home Health Care, Inc. when the opportunity presented itself after barely two years of working in a home health environment.
Today this progressive minded nurse entrepreneur takes on new challenges as she realigns her goals and seeks new opportunities for her business, career and professional and community service. It’s probably not anymore about her as it is about others, of mentoring new nurses and molding the young minds.
Indeed, even today as she reaps the rewards of her hard work, Cris can’t still seem to slow down. It’s just the way some people are and just the way Cris is. No slowing down … yet. Still, in spite of a full schedule, she finds time to smell the roses.